The Queensland Government has issued a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Abbot Point coal port project, the backbone for Adani’s $12.5bn Carmichael mine.
State development minister Dr Anthony Lynham said that the draft EIS was now available for public comment until 18 September and would allow more than 20 business days for public consultation.
Lynham said: "This is a milestone for the sustainable development of the Galilee Basin and the jobs and economic development it could deliver for Queenslanders.
"We are putting dredged material on port land next to the existing terminal, and we are minimising impacts to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area by ruling out at-sea disposal."
The expansion of Abbot Point is expected to boost its capacity to meet anticipated export demand from proposed Galilee Basin mining projects.
Works, which will begin only after securing environmental approvals, are expected to create around 160 jobs at peak in construction.
Queensland Resources Council chief executive Michael Roche said despite the relentless campaign of the activists, the unlocking of the huge jobs potential of the Galilee coal basin is one step closer.
"We fully expect though that the anti-coal activists will also look to game the legal system to delay this port development approval."
The environmental groups opposing the project claim that the project would require dredging of 1.1 million cubic metres of seabed from the floor of the Great Barrier Reef, threatening the heritage site.
The Abbot Point coal port project would also unlock nine mega mines in the Galilee Basin, which will further contribute to climate change.
350.org Australia CEO Blair Palese said: "350 Australia and the 50,000 members we represent are disheartened to again watch our government put Indian mining giant Adani’s disastrous coal export proposal ahead of the health and well-being of Australians, our climate and our Reef.
"The federal and Queensland government’s relentless efforts to support Adani’s proposal is reckless on every level. This is the third time the Abbot Point project has come through the approvals process, it’s time our governments cut their losses and let this fizzer of a project go."
Image: The environmentalists are opposing the project as it will damage the eco system of Great Barrier Reef. Photo: courtesy of 350.org Australia.